When still a child, Christ abandoned his parents during a visit to the Temple in Jerusalem and stayed behind to teach among the scholars there. His mother’s words on finding Him again are written in Latin on the book she holds: “Son, why have you dealt with us like this?” The picture is signed and dated in Latin along the bottom edge of the frame: “Simone of Siena painted me in the year of Our Lord 1342”. Simone was among the greatest artists of 14th-century Italy, but at this date he was working at Avignon in France, where the papal court was in exile from Rome. This sumptuous picture was no doubt commissioned by a high-ranking patron, possibly the Pope himself. Its style has much in common with aristocratic French art of the same period, such as illuminated manuscripts and carved ivories.


  • Title: Christ Discovered in the Temple
  • Creator: Simone Martini
  • Creator Lifespan: About 1284
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Sienna, Italy
  • Date Created: 1342
  • tag / style: Simone Martini; Christ; Mary; Joseph; temple; teenager; pope; commission; French art; Latin; Holy family; son
  • Physical Dimensions: w351 x h495 cm (Without frame)
  • Artwork History: This painting was once owned by William Roscoe. Roscoe (1753-1831) was a successful Liverpool lawyer and Radical politician whose interests included history, poetry, botany, languages and art. Remarkably, he was, on the whole, a self-educated man. To find out more about Roscoe, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/collectors/williamroscoe.asp
  • Additional artwork information: To learn more about the Walker Art Gallery’s 13th – 16th century collection please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/13c-16c/
  • Type: Tempera and gold leaf on wood panel
  • Rights: Presented by Liverpool Royal Institution in 1948

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps